Gender Equity Belief Statement

by | September 9, 2016, 5:00am 55

Who we are:
This statement is a product of a collaboration among leaders from the following men’s, women’s, and mixed teams: Johnny Bravo, Ironside, Machine, Revolver, Sockeye, Truck Stop, Brute Squad, Fury, Molly Brown, Nightlock, Riot, Scandal, Amp, Drag’n Thrust, Mixtape, Polar Bears, and Slow White. At the time of this document’s publishing, some full teams are ready to back this statement while others are still working towards getting consensus from all team members. Therefore, in the attached statement of support, some teams have chosen to use their team name to indicate program support while other teams have listed individual team members in full support.

Our goal:
Through this letter, and other public actions, we intend to encourage USA Ultimate to require a policy of gender equity over equality in all future broadcasting partnerships, and to generate increased consciousness regarding gender related issues in our community. Currently, USA Ultimate’s policy of gender equality states that coverage of the men’s and women’s division is equal in number of games streamed. However, coverage is not equitable. These games are not equal in terms of accessibility or timing. Moreover, the current policy omits the mixed division entirely. In order to bolster female involvement in the sport (Female athletes make up only 30% of USA Ultimate membership), additional efforts must be made to promote divisions in which women play. To achieve true equity, media coverage and USA Ultimate policies must prioritize visibility of female athletes over male athletes to compensate for the ways in which women have been historically and socially disadvantaged.

Our beliefs:
We understand that USA Ultimate’s membership1This statement is based on the strategic plan and surveys used to determine the goals for 2013-­2018, number one being visibility: http://www.usaultimate.org/strategic_plan/ has actively prioritized the goal of increasing visibility of the sport of ultimate. However, in pursuit of this goal, the organization has regressed in its approach to gender equity by preferencing coverage of the men’s division over both the mixed and women’s divisions. The strategy must be revisited so that we do not drift from USA Ultimate’s Core Values of Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Leadership, and Teamwork. To clarify our stance on this matter, our group has developed a list of beliefs that we all stand behind.

We believe:

  • No athlete is inherently less valuable based on gender and that, historically, female athletes have not been equally valued.
  • Equitable coverage symbolizes a commitment to eliminating institutionalized sexism pervasive in sport culture, and that a shift towards true equity in coverage will shift the conversation surrounding the value of women in our sport and inspire more women to participate in ultimate.
  • USA Ultimate, as an organization that represents its members’ values and shapes the future of ultimate, has a duty to act equitably in an aim to reverse gender-­biases in our sport.
  • By investing in equitable coverage of female athletes, our sport will find a new path towards growth that does not inherently favor male athletes.
  • USA Ultimate’s recent media agreements lack the transparency and equitable coverage necessary to elevate our sport toward its highest potential.
  • Success of USA Ultimate’s vision for the sport depends on the wide support of its membership base, support which we believe is dwindling as trust has diminished in USA Ultimate’s commitment to gender equity and lack of transparency.
  • Visibility should not come at the expense of equity and no broadcast partner is worth compromising our values.

Current policy:
USA Ultimate supports female athletes through a policy which ensures equal coverage of the women’s and men’s divisions, by encouraging outside partners to achieve gender equity in their coverage, and by implementing programs, like the Girls Ultimate Movement, to increase participation of female players.

As recently as August 25th, this policy has resulted in positive changes such as the first Women’s Club Division Final in a primetime slot with ESPN3 coverage. We applaud USA Ultimate’s efforts to encourage these changes from its partners, and believe that USA Ultimate should demand them going forward.

Policy changes:
In the pursuit of gender equity we would like USA Ultimate’s Gender Equity Policy to read:

“In an attempt to strengthen the ultimate community and ensure that the sport of ultimate remains an inclusive and welcoming sport for female athletes, USA Ultimate endorses a policy of gender equity. USA Ultimate will ensure equitable coverage and promotion of women’s divisions of play (women’s and mixed) to that of the corresponding men’s division, and require outside partners and vendors to achieve gender equity in their coverage of and marketing to ultimate. As long as the number of female players lags behind the number of male players, USA Ultimate will implement targeted outreach programs that strive to increase the number of female players and ensure equitable coverage of female players.”

Next steps:
We understand that negotiations with ESPN and other media providers for future USA Ultimate college and club seasons are currently underway. It is our goal to begin a conversation with USA Ultimate before these negotiations are complete to ensure that future contracts better address current inequities in our sport. We request a response to our statement by a USA Ultimate representative [one week from submission] and for a group of representatives from USA Ultimate to speak with selected representatives from the Women’s, Mixed and Men’s Club divisions [one week after that] about our list of concerns, specific guidelines for equitable allocation of coverage for all three divisions, and other possible actions moving forward.

Based on the resulting discussions with USA Ultimate, leaders from all three club divisions will continue to collaborate to establish a concrete list of asks and proposed revisions to the current policies which will be presented to USA Ultimate and to the general public before Nationals. We hope to work as allies with USA Ultimate to amend the current gender equity policy and remedy, what we see as, inequities in current coverage. However, unless future broadcasting agreements adhere to the set of beliefs listed above ­ which we believe establish a more equitable approach to the growth of not only women’s ultimate specifically, but also ultimate in general ­we will continue to use our voices, as showcased athletes, to speak out on these issues.

In conclusion:
As the players most frequently showcased in broadcasted events, past and current contract agreements have been in opposition to our values and beliefs regarding gender equity in sport. It is our understanding that some of the above beliefs are incongruent with the requests of some broadcast partners. However, the above values should be non-negotiable in all current and future partnerships with broadcasters and vendors. USA Ultimate has the potential to propel our sport forward as a pioneer in equity in athletics, just as it has in sportsmanship and fair-play. By advancing its stance on gender equity through a revised gender equity policy, USA Ultimate would show a greater commitment to ending gender­-bias and elevate the status of ultimate as a sport that challenges historic boundaries of exclusion. We hope to work with USA Ultimate towards achieving this goal.

Gender Equity Statement of Beliefs Statement of Support:
Below is a list of individual players and teams who stand behind the “Gender Equity Statement of Beliefs” letter. You can join this group of athletes by signing our online petition.

Johnny Bravo (Complete Roster)

Ironside (Complete Roster)

Machine
Cullen
Andy Neilsen
Julian Childs­-Walker
Joshua Stevens­-Stein
Pawel Janas
Kevin Kelly
Jack Shey
Adrian King
Jesse Buchsbaum
Trent Kuhl
Alex Evangelides

Revolver
Patrick Baylis
Elijah Kerns
Andrew Hagen
Antoine Davis (Practice player)
Jamie Quella
Byron Liu
Christian Johnson
Jordan Marcy
Cassidy Rassmussen
Lucas Dallman
Joel Schlachet
Seth Reinhardt
Sam Kanner
Grant Lindsley
Russell Wynne
Nathan White
Beau Kittredge

Molica Anderson (trainer)

Zach Travis

Simon Higgins

Sockeye (Complete Roster)

Truck Stop
Nicky Spiva
Markham Shofner
Alan Kolick
Jeff Wodatch
Erik Salmi
Eric Miner
Chance Cochran
Matthew “Rowan” McDonnell
Jonathan Neeley
Bradley Scott

Brute Squad (Complete Roster)

Fury
Cree Howard
Marika Austin
Sarah Carnahan
Meeri Change
Diana Charrier
Lisa Couper
Alicia Dantzker
Stephanie Lim
Sharon Lin
Magon Liu
Marisa Mead
Katie Ryan
Alex Synder
Kaela Jorgenson
Nancy Sun
Genevieve Laroche
Alden Fletcher
Michela Meister
Andrea Romana
Carolyn Finney
Anna Nazarov
Darragh Clancy
Maggie Ruden
Claire Desmond
Lakshmi Narayan
Idris Nolan (Coach)

Molly Brown (Complete Roster)

Nightlock (Complete Roster)

Riot (Complete Roster)

Scandal (Complete Roster)

AMP (Complete Roster)

Drag’n Thrust (Complete Roster)

Seattle Mixtape (Complete Roster)

Slow White (Complete Roster)

We invite you to show your support of our statement of beliefs, and of the spirit of amending gender inequity in the sport of ultimate, by signing our petition! Please join us in continuing the conversation as fellow players (or community members) advocating for gender equity!

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at] skydmagazine.com.

  • All in favour for this. Tho I find it ironic that the list of teams supporting this are discriminatory in itself. Why not just list them alphabetically?

    • Joel Prushan

      Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one bothered by that.

      • Leonardo

        Yeah I noticed that right away too — was listing Bravo first done because they are a Open team and would draw more attention to the cause? Or was it subliminal bias??

        • Skeptic

          B I M R S T… it’s in alphabetical order.

          It could also be argued that the divisions were listed in alphabetical order — M, W, X.

          Short of calling the alphabet sexist, I don’t think any of your concerns are valid. This conversation seems to fall under Parkinson’s law of triviality – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_triviality. It would be more productive to stick to discussing more meaningful issues.

          • Leonardo

            perhaps the A in AMP falling in the middle of the pack without the team delineation threw off the sequence to my eyes and Johnny in front of Bravo should make that team below Ironside… it’s inelegant, fact, but you have valid points. Skeptic, both of them.

  • Almost a grandmaster

    Interesting approach to being an “ally,” publishing a letter demanding a certain response by a certain date and proclaiming an attempt to co-opt a process that was framed with input from all members (Strategic Planning) with one from a very select group of top teams.

    Question for the men on this group who actively play in and promote a semipro league:
    By having USAU consider a policy that would restrict any highly visible, non-endemic media partners from covering their events, do you all maintain a clear conscience that then the men’s-division only semipro leagues would be the only high-level ultimate games/events featured on such a network that reaches much beyond the ultimate community?

    Question for everyone on this group:
    If the membership of the organization is 70% male, wouldn’t equality/fairness mean spending 30% on female-specific promotion? And spending anything above that (by default then less than 70% on males), would then be clearly steps towards equity? How does equity only happen if at least 50% is given in all ways towards promotion of the 30%?

    • badger_combinationroom

      No, equality/fairness would not mean 30%, because that 30% is reflective of existing biases. As a loose example, the point of which is not to invite you to spot and list highly specific differences between it and this, when women’s soccer got sustained coverage for the first time in 1998, the number of young girls signing up to play soccer exploded. That they had not been interested in soccer before presumably had something to do with the fact that nearly all the soccer they’d seen was boys and men playing soccer; it hadn’t seemed like something for them, something they could do. You might have noticed, too, the many photos shared on social media after this past Olympics of very young black girls imitating their new Olympic heroes at home. The example — the sense that “yes, you can be like her and you can do this too” — is crucial to pulling girls not just into sports but into physical fitness generally.

      I went to college at a school that had an wltimate team, which meant men. There was no women’s ultimate team, I never saw women playing ultimate, and it never occurred to me that women could play. Higher visibility for women’s ultimate will, I would bet money on it, increase the rate of participation amongst women.

      • Almost a grandmaster

        The problem is that women’s and mixed already have sustained coverage in the events that USAU has any control over. They simply don’t have 100% equal coverage. The women’s soccer also didn’t get 100% equal coverage as men’s soccer, but only sustained, as you point out. Hopefully that doesn’t come across as highly specific (it doesn’t to me). The bigger problem is there are 2 entire leagues devoted to visibility and media exposure that COMPLETELY leave out women, and yet this group contains supporters/employees of those leagues? They focus their energy on the ONE group that’s already on their side?

        • badger_combinationroom

          I think perhaps you’re getting lost in the weeds a bit. If the timing, production quality, and coverage of the men’s games is consistently superior to that of the women’s, then obviously there’s a problem. If women’s games are getting bumped for men’s, even though there are fewer of them to be had, then clearly this is a problem, too. When you’ve whacked away at those problems to the point where men and women actually feel like equals in the league, then you can start picking at questions of 100% equal.

          There’s an analogy in academic conferences, where women, though visible, are still vastly outnumbered by men in many fields. It’s not time yet to talk about 50-50. We’re still at the point of “look at the roster. Are there women’s names here. No, or tiny proportion? You’re not done recruiting your panel. No, for real, or we’re not coming/sponsoring your event.”

          As for the “!! Why are you picking on us, we’re the good guys?” — a couple of things. One, “on your side” is not the same thing as “you can have this corner here, okay.” Equity involves considerable voice and power in decisionmaking, which, granted, is difficult for those who’ve been in control and making allowances. And two, well, of course it’s where they’d start. There are men in the league already interested in actual gender equity, which doesn’t appear to be the case in the others.

          That first point, incidentally, is an explosive one in a lot of contexts, because you get people in positions of relative strength/power/privilege who recognize an inequity and want to do something about it, so they make some room. The key thing, though, is that the decision over making or withholding room is pretty much theirs; they retain the power. And in the end, that’s not equitable.

          • Almost a grandmaster

            Who is the group controlling things inequitably in your view? USAU board of directors? The one with a strong, accomplished LGBTQ female leader? The staff with 37% females? The membeship with only 30% females? Not following your analogies with academia nor soccer at all, is my problem. Seems we’re doing better than both and seems they provide poor reasons to devote energy to this effort vs those 2 as well as others (US politics a huge problem area for gender equality). This feels a LOT like preaching to the choir.

            When you mention men that care? You mean the signers of this petition? Those same men are in the other leagues/systems. There is apparently NOT a lack of interest.

          • badger_combinationroom

            Funny you should say that.

            I work in a STEM department (and should go there soon) which has, cause for celebration, 30% women amongst faculty — including LGBTQ. Kind of a big deal. The atmosphere is still profoundly old-boys. The women are still out in the cold when it comes to mentoring, meaning that the loss of two senior women last year is a serious thing for the junior women. The reaction to women taking leave for childbirth and children’s infancy and pushing back the tenure clock is still, often, anger, and when grad students get pregnant the first reaction is still that they’ve fucked up somehow. Our department chair recently told the only women on the head council that he’d like to shift her to another committee, one where they could make use of her skills in throwing parties. This is someone with major grants from two federal scientific agencies (despite the fact that her advisor’s nickname for her was…well, I’ll say it was objectifying, so as not to ID her too far. Also that she’s been told she makes men uncomfortable at conferences).

            Staff is heavily women, yes. We are decidedly low on the totem pole, also fireable. Over time I’ve found that I work preferentially with the women faculty because in general they don’t treat me like an instrument, to use and drop (and underpay), but as a team member and also as a person. But my work is unique and high-level enough that I have the ability to make those choices. Other women just have to deal with whoever comes through the door and starts demanding things or even yelling at them.

            There’s still a lot of work to be done.

            You better believe that there are men in the department who see evidence of the women’s existence as “we’re allies and we’ve done our bit, why don’t you go bother someone else and be grateful for how nice we’ve been to you already”. The problem is pretty simple. Job ain’t done.

        • Warren Meech Wells

          Also, I think it’s worth pointing out that:

          1. Neither of the semi-pro leagues have an explicit commitment to gender equity written into their bylaws.
          2. The semi-pro leagues have no explicit commitment to fostering the community or character of ultimate (2/3rds of USAU’s mission). Their purposes, as stated on their websites, are simply to expand visibility of the sport.
          3. Last, and perhaps most importantly, everyone in the above list is a *dues-paying member* of USAU, while no one pays MLU/AUDL anything (excepting ticket sales by spectators).

          I think those three facts give plenty of reason to “focus energy on the ONE (sic) group that’s already on their side”.

          • Uzoma O.

            Meh, I’d disagree with your last point. There are a lot of dual players right now playing for semi-pro for practically peanuts and a free ride to the games. That time could easily be spent resting your body for club and focusing on the club season. especially if you’re pro-flight. I would almost argue that they have more weight in AUDL and MLU than USAU just from sheer personal sacrifice with little to no reward, for something that wasn’t really needed, but appreciated, to begin with.

          • Almost a grandmaster

            For both 1 & 2, how does the lack of commitments to the causes/areas of concern translate into being less of a relevant/appropriate area of focus? That seems like a BIGGER problem area to focus on; more is needed, not less. In other words, I’m having a hard time understanding the “group that’s already on their side” being the appropriate target. Seems lazy rather than productive. Advice? (Also, how is the spelling in question for the word “one” in my sentence?)

            The problem I have with #3 is that it highlights the tiny proportion that the group represents. Confession: I’m very much in favor of improving gender equity, at all levels of society. And I don’t think the argument should be a numbers one in this case, that the majority of members or even a huge group (clearly not the case) is being represented, but rather the argument should be that it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s a minority position (i.e., the pure numbers might point in a different direction).

            Also, there is a clear segment being highlighted among the listed petitioners (male players on the elite teams) who are paid BY (in the form of awesome sport experience & exposure, if not monetary gain) the leagues who, by all indications, will continue to show only men playing ultimate to the world beyond our community, as is their commitment to pure visibility that you point out. And their signing of this 50%-or-nothing ultimatum comes across as a huge conflict of interest (they win if this ultimatum is unimplementable).

    • sarahCOdavis

      Promotion of the 30% is in aspiration to obtaining the 50%. Half(ish) of the available pool of humans (read: age ~5-45 people of able body) to draw membership from is female, so it makes sense (to me) that you would want similar numbers reflected in your pool of participants. You’re not (necessarily) promoting to the people who are already members of the organization, but rather those who feel like they can’t/shouldn’t be/don’t have the resources or infrastructure or support to be members. Maybe it would make sense to instead allocate 70% of resources to recruiting and supporting female-identifying players until this deficit is remedied. Just a thought.

      • Almost a grandmaster

        Thank you! That’s a very interesting point! We can look at the roughly 50/50 split of the national population (the target consumers of the media, we want everyone to see it). I honestly think that’s the best explanation of why a 50/50 split that I’ve seen and makes sense as an ideal to target (a vision). That just leaves me wondering about how to actually get there (a pathway). Does a “50/50 or nothing” demand make better sense right now than “we realize current supporting numbers of members are 30/70, and we’re willing to start with a 40/60 coverage split (2 games to 3 games) before pushing further for 50/50 as a next step?” Seems like a variety of factors would come into play to answer that question, including most notably the affordability of just paying things (vs any reliance on advertising/viewership numbers) as well as on external media partner willingness to go 50/50. Great point!

    • Kyle Weisbrod

      > proclaiming an attempt to co-opt a process that was framed with input from all members (Strategic Planning) with one from a very select group of top teams.

      Setting aside whether or not the process actually had sufficient input from all members, this letter frames the policy change as in line with the USAU’s core values which were derived by the same strategic process.

      > Question for the men on this group who actively play in and promote a semipro league:
      By having USAU consider a policy that would restrict any highly visible, non-endemic media partners from covering their events, do you all maintain a clear conscience that then the men’s-division only semipro leagues would be the only high-level ultimate games/events featured on such a network that reaches much beyond the ultimate community?

      I agree with you that there’s a conflict here where these values aren’t being applied equally across all ultimate. And, if, this were (for example) to result in ESPN not renewing the contracting at all – this could actually hurt the cause of gender equity in terms of visibility.

      What I hope is that USAU agrees and then works with this motivated group who has declared that they share USAU’s values to also affect change in the semi-pro leagues.

      >Question for everyone on this group:
      If the membership of the organization is 70% male, wouldn’t equality/fairness mean spending 30% on female-specific promotion? And spending anything above that (by default then less than 70% on males), would then be clearly steps towards equity? How does equity only happen if at least 50% is given in all ways towards promotion of the 30%?

      http://9gag.com/gag/ajAerM1/equality-vs-equity

      • Almost a grandmaster

        Yes, that image of people standing on boxes is exactly the kind of thing that I think about. Currently the men’s division is 70 feet tall, to roughly analogize, while the women’s division is 30 feet tall. How tall should the women’s box be? We know that spending 30% on women would be equality (spending 100% of the revenue from women on women) and spending more than that is in the interest of equity (they need more). More than 30% of resources should be spent on those 30% to achieve equity. Going to 50% of sum resources on the women, the men are receiving 71% (5/7) of an equality view (represent/serve the membership in direct proportion to its actual diversity) and the women receive 167% (5/3). How do we know if that’s the right amount and demand it until it happens? Unfortunately, we don’t have a concrete problem like “as soon as you can see over this fence, we’ve arrived.” I get that the 50/50 math is simple. Is that the only reason that it’s been deemed the right fit?

        Looking at media specifically (vs resources generally), things get muddied by the fact that viewership (vs membership) is the driver for those external media partners. So the numbers could be closer to 50/50 in terms of media consumption, but my hunch is that it’s not. Might even be worse than 30/70, so it’s an even tougher justification to attract a media partner with a 50/50 or nothing approach, rather than an achieve equity (be better than whatever the numbers suggest). I’d also assume that increasing viewership/consumption of women’s media would be the compelling way to push those external partners vs simple demands.

        Love the pro league idea! If the demand results in no media coverage for anyone (or very little), then the male-only pro leagues have all the visibility and we’re in a worse situation than before.

  • Meg Duffy

    The petition link in the last paragraph is malfunctioning

  • Lane Davis

    Anyone else having trouble with the link to sign the petition?

  • Geoa Geer

    Is it just me, or is the petition link not working?

  • Tommy Li

    does anyone know the cost of the USAU/espn3 partnership?

    • Kyle Weisbrod

      I don’t believe that information is public. The lack of transparency in the process of negotiating these contracts with partners that then provided inequitable coverage was one of the key points of frustration that led to the “gender equity ombudgroup” proposal last year.

    • Almost a grandmaster

      Answer delivered in the past from USAU on that question is that ESPN3 contractually requires that USAU not disclose details of the financial terms/arrangements, in order to not reduce ESPN’s negotiating power with other entities (e.g., well, we know you did X for $Y for USAU so we’re going to use that as a negotiating tool to pay you less). It would be breach of contract to publicly disclose. What seems clear is that it would be cheaper to just drop the coverage and let endemic streaming services be the only broadcasters of USAU events, thereby failing to reach much outside of the ultimate community.

    • Almost a grandmaster

      The 2015 annual report at http://www.usaultimate.org/annual_report/ (final pages) shows $372k in marketing expenses. Can’t imagine that a huge proportion of that isn’t for the ESPN coverage (perhaps $300k), and then that’s offset on the revenue side by $399k in sponsorship & marketing income (so not necessarily paid for currently by membership dues which account for just 55% of total revenue). But that tells me that paying ESPN to produce 2 more games (1 each for mixed & women’s) at US Open & Club Nationals is on the order of $40,000 so raising membership dues for club-division playing levels (29,000 college/adult members) who primarily benefit from the coverage, by $1.50 per member (to $57 total), could cover it. On the other hand, this petition campaign could present the opportunity to save $300k by dropping the ESPN coverage altogether, with the explanation that they can’t make it “equitable” enough.

  • Zach

    While I’m sympathetic to this, I have a question. If your choice was no ESPN deal or a deal which includes a schedule like this year’s, which would you choose? It appears most signers of this would prefer a situation where both men’s and women’s ultimate is worse off in exchange for equity.

    • anoba

      Yes, it probably IS safe to say that many people would prefer not to sell out a significant and important portion of the Ultimate playing population for some marginal gains in visibility.

      • Zach

        So just to be clear, to some it would be preferable to have 0 men’s and 0 women’s games than 3 men’s and 2 women’s games televised? I understand the frustration and I’m not saying they shouldnt fight to make it 3 and 3, but when you favor a situation with 0 women’s games televised to a situation with 2, can you really say you’re fighting for the women’s game anymore? You’ve now placed equity as a more important moral value than instead encouraging positive exposure.

        • Almost a grandmaster

          Now you’re just ruining idealism with reality!

        • anoba

          In your hypothetical scenario, if the USAU side had given more thought to gender equity, they could have stood in solidarity with the women’s side being given short shrift and offered to agree to a contract to cover 2 men’s games and 2 women’s games. Still providing visibility, but not selling out one side.

          • Zach

            So in your world, 5 total ultimate games being televised with 2 being women’s is worse than 4 total ultimate games being televised and 2 being women’s? See this is my biggest issue. As long as equity is about pulling women’s coverage up I’m all on board. But when it’s used to tear the men’s game down instead in the name of equity I no longer see equity as a noble pursuit.

          • anoba

            It all depends on what your goals are. Clearly your personal goals value more total coverage at the cost of fairness and equity. That is not everyone’s goal, nor should it be the USAU’s goal since they have equity written into their bylaws (or constitution or whatever document it is where they purport to stand for equity). You can see it as “tearing the men’s game down” or you can see it as everyone standing together as one community and aiming to “raise all boats together”.

          • Zach

            No your view is simply not reality. If I have $5 and you have $10 and I steal $5 from you and light it on fire, that was not a victory for equality and justice. It’s the logic of jealous toddlers who would prefer a toy remain not played with than someone other than them enjoy that toy.

            Now that said, I’ll give some people who signed this the benefit of the doubt. It’s possible that telling ESPN “you can televise us equally or we’ll go home” will result in equity coming from increased coverage of women’s ultimate. If that’s the goal I’m behind them 100%. But this ugly jealousy that would tear others down in order to achieve equity and actually believes that hurting the men’s game makes women better off (as you seem to believe) has no room in actual moral analysis.

          • anoba

            You keep using unsound analogies and attributing feelings and thoughts to people that very likely do not think that way. So there really isn’t much left to discuss here.

          • Kyle Weisbrod

            Actually, there are some indications that we’ve evolved to biologically respond to fairness *even if that means everybody has less*: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/are-humans-hardwired-for-fairness.html

            Other studies indicate this may be specific to western culture or cultures with market economies: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/culture-shapes-sense-fairness

            I’m not sure if that contributes much to this discussion or will change your mind but, at least, it does seem to indicate that Anoba’s view does match reality, at least in western culture. We don’t make these decisions based on straight utilitarianism a as you’ve suggested. And, while you’ve suggested that it’s “immoral” or “jelousy” perhaps this is the type of thing our culture has evolved so that we can build trust and work as unified groups to achieve common goals.

            Now, of course, it’s not surprising that some men who benefit from the status quo would appeal to utilitarianism and then claim that the opposite view is immoral in some way. But, perhaps, because we’re all aware that that type of view would diminish trust in the person that shares that view, it’s only a perspective shared behind pseudonyms.

          • Kyle Weisbrod

            Oh, and if you read that second link, it indicates that lack of concern for fairness is something that toddlers do but that people in western culture grow out of by the time they are 4-6 so perhaps your view, not Anoba’s, is the one that mimics the logic of toddlers.

          • Zach

            Kyle, there are many ways in which the human brain is illogical. Imagine if my argument had been “humans have sexist biases, therefore if you’re a man you should oppose female ultimate”. That would be, in my opinion, an immoral view supported by a flaw in the human brain. Your argument that certain people’s brains irrationally value fairness comes to no surprise, after all we’re in the midst of an election where a major party candidate came close to winning on a platform of “certain people have too much” and it resonated with people. If 100% of those people distributed all their money no one would actually be much better off, but other people being better off promoted feelings of jealousy and an irrational bias towards fairness.

            Long story short you can’t show that humans act a certain way therefore it’s something to strive for. Otherwise I would be able to logically support racist, sexist, hateful ideologies as simply normal because they reflect how our brains work.

          • Kyle Weisbrod

            Apologies for the psuedonym comment. It’s not immediately apparent who you are. If I ran into you in person I would say “oh yeah, that’s the guy I was discussing equity with on the internet.”

            Part of the point is that it’s not inherently illogical unless you define logic = short term utilitarianism. Here’s a crazy analogy: Imagine we’re stuck on an island all starving to death and we’ve got a hot air balloon that can save some but not all of the people. In that case fairness would mean leaving everybody to die while utilitarianism would mean filling the hot air balloon with as many people as it could carry and leaving some behind to die. I’m on board with you that this is a case where fairness is illogical.

            Now imagine that we’re on that island with that balloon and we’re not particularly comfortable but we’re not dying. And what’s more, we’ve got the resources on that island to build another hot air balloon so we can all go together, but that’s gonna take some time. The more people that help, the faster it will go but it won’t go at double speed. For the sake of this analogy, let’s say that there are people in power who get to dictate who gets on that balloon.

            Now, short term utilitarianism would dictate that some people should leave the island immediately. The total time required to suffer the deprivations of the island would be reduced. The people in power might want to leave and say “why would you tear down the people that can leave now!” Fairness would dictate that everyone waits until everyone can leave the island together. Or some other fairness/utilitarian combo would dictate “let’s make a fair process for determining who gets to leave first.”

            Now, imagine that we’re not really sure where we’re going to or what the conditions will be, but it’s suspected that it is better for the group to work together when we get there to ensure that we all do well and survive. The people in power say, “here, we’ll help you a bit, but then we think that’s enough and then we’ll go because we’d really like to be off this island. We’re cool, right, because we helped you?” And, while the people left behind appreciate the help, they are suspicious of the people in power because they fell short of fairness – so are they really going to behave fairly when they meet at the place they are going? Long term utilitarianism for the people in power and the other people may be the same as the 2nd example (either all leaving together or developing a fair way to determine who leaves first).

            I want to be clear, I’m not saying “our brains work this way so we should do it that way.” I’m saying: The way our brains are working is not illogical unless short-term utilitarianism is your sole definition of logic. There’s wide potential benefit to all of us in the long-run if we ascribe to a model of fairness (or equity). So, yes, there’s the potential that in the short term we get less coverage but there’s also the potential that in the long term we’re a stronger sport and community.

          • Kyle, this is amazing.

        • Tim

          Zach, while I do believe your points are valid, I think there are better suited analogies for this idea. This idea is not so much to destroy the the success of Men’s Ultimate. Where as, it is more to trim it like a bush. The goal of the petition is to reform the medial attention to make the sport grow for both genders equally. Men’s Ultimate will still be growing, like the branches , of a trimmed branch, where as with your money analogy, the money is gone and will never come back. In addition, as a high school level player, Recruiting men to play the game is 10x much easier than women have. Matter of fact, during the two days that my team has to show off the team, each gender gets one day. That is because the women see it as more of a man’s sport do to the medial coverage. With this petition, it will help young women, the future of the game, to feel like this is sport is for all genders. Also, an act like this will create a stepping stone for more equity in all major sports. For example, it could create an argument for the USA Women’s Soccer Team for equal pay, something I heavily support. And again, I am not saying your points are invalid, because they absolutely matter to the finalization of this movement. Because as a movement, we need to try and reach a compromise, rather than a “YOU’RE A SEXIST DICK FOR DISAGREEING WITH THE MOVEMENT!!!”

          • Zach

            Hi Tim, I think we mostly agree. I hope the signers of the petition had a goal of lifting women’s ultimate using the success of men’s ultimate as leverage. I absolutely support this.

            But my main point is that striving for equity is not an inherently good goal despite the positive connotations. If in striving for equity, you make both genders suffer but make it more equal, you have not achieved success. Clearly some people think that would be success, as anoba does. In case you missed it, they literally said that going from a 3/2 split in favor of men to 0/0 would be a step up for women’s ultimate, because equity. They literally think taking from some in order to be equal is actually a noble goal. That is an evil ideology, and that needs to be pointed out. People like this can’t hide behind words like equity and claim moral superiority when their view is detrimental to everyone, both men and women.

            And this goes whether we’re discussing income equality or gender equity in ultimate. It’s the same ideology rearing its ugly head.

          • Trent Simmons

            Zach, the way I am reading your argument is this: Bringing Women’s Ultimate up is a worthy goal, bringing Men’s down is not, so any effort towards parity should focus on the first and avoid the second.
            I agree with that. Refusing a TV deal with a partner because they want to show more Men’s games and ending up with no major broadcast partner could definitely be construed as bringing down both divisions.

            I believe Kyle is making the point that in the long term, our sport as a whole will be stronger if we maintain a focus on gender equity, even (or especially) when it is not convenient.
            There are a whole lot of sports out there, Ultimate is trying to carve out a larger niche in a very crowded field. A sport which publicly and repeatedly proclaims its principles could stand out, i.e. gender equity could become a major selling point, especially with a sports network trying to attract more female viewers or simply more viewers who value equity.
            However, this approach requires a massive PR effort; principles can’t be selling points unless enough people know about them.

            I hope USAU can find a broadcast partner who thinks gender equity is a worthy enough goal to (perhaps) take a bit of a ratings hit until they reach those viewers. In the meantime, the semi-pro leagues continue their relentless march onwards, so I’d agree with you and Almost a grandmaster that this could be a case of principles standing in the way of progress.

            I do wonder if this group will take the same stance with the MLU and AUDL. I think you could definitely make a case that any semi-pro player, employee, or volunteer who signed this petition should also make a concerted effort to get those leagues to take the same steps they are asking USAU to take. I wish them luck on that front and with the overall goal of getting more girls and women involved.

          • anoba

            In the interest of fairness, I never suggested that Zach is a “sexist dick for disagreeing with the movement.” It was he who explicitly equated the movement with “jealous toddlers.”

    • lmichael

      Funny how this thread includes, like, WAY more dudes debating women’s equality, and very few women. (Yes, I’m basing this on usernames. Yes, I am a woman.)

      • Zach

        It’s almost as if the vast majority of ultimate players were men. Oh wait…

  • Bola

    So I have to forgo watching Andrew Brown of Madison Club in favor of watching Atlanta Ozone and Raleigh Phoenix of women’s? I can’t get enough out of that besides looking at marvelous muscles. If there were more firecrackers like Alika Johnston, I could definitely get on board with this petition. But this is equality attained by lowering the heights.

  • Just a Guy

    Why is the mixed division getting any coverage at all in this new proposal? The game is played with a 4:3 gender split (almost always with 4 men:3 women). The current rules of the sport make it impossible for this division to offer the 50/50 coverage this equity group is asking for.

    Furthermore, it is often the case that the men on the field control the flow of action. Yes, some teams are very good at using their women effectively and equitably. However, it is more common to see a handful of guys controlling the play, either in a handler role or a cutter role. I’m a men’s division player who recently played his first competitive mixed division tournament this summer. The message from the leadership group was always that we had the best/strongest women and we need to/will use that to our advantage. And for the most part, we did. However, I also heard these same people tell me it’s good to dominate play and touch the disc every 2nd throw. Their actions on field and words in private were hypocritical to the message they consistently conveyed to the team as a whole. This may not be the case on every mixed team but I would there are similar happenings on many of them.

    The consensus thoughts I’ve gathered over the years is that the best men play in the men’s division because the quality of play/player is higher than in mixed. Whereas the best women play in the women’s division because they hate how the game is dominated by the men. Even though the mixed division is the best example of equity superficially, I believe it’s the worst example of any of the divisions. Cut them out entirely and divvy those games up in a way that creates equity for the men’s and women’s coverage.

    • Personally I wish that the Mixed division would be the poster child division with the best players to represent Ultimate. I wonder if a change to 6-v-6 with a 3:3 gender ratio would help to balance things. Being mixed makes our sport unique and it also adds an interesting aspect to team dynamics, strategy and overall experience.

  • Downvotageddon

    But it’s not discrimination by gender, it’s discrimination by athleticism. It just so happens that, on average, men are more athletic. This is why there are men’s and women’s leagues in the first place; athleticism, not sex. Really, if you wanted equality, there wouldn’t be men’s and women’s, it’d just be Tier 1, Tier 2 etc. Teams that want to win would pick up the best players regardless of sex.

    I would actually make this same argument about sports watching too, which is the real issue actually. More people watch men’s sports so for profit companies are willing to pay more to sponsor men’s leagues. I don’t think this is unfair, again discrimination by athleticism which is arguably discrimination by merit, in sports. I believe that going to for profit companies and asking for equal coverage/sponsorship/funding would net less funding and might lead to less women’s games being broadcast which might lead to the opposite effect of one of this groups stated goals: “[bolstering] female involvement in the sport”

    Although, I’m not really sure why 30% is a bad number. What are the percentages of interest in the sport? How could you possibly know what the percentage is outside of “social and historical” influences? Ultimate hasn’t been around that long, what social and historical influences are you talking about? How do you know that the effects were both unduly and negative on female participation? How would you even define “unduly”? If you can successfully argue an actual number as your goal then please negotiate world peace afterward as that will help humanity more than equality in ultimate.

    So, even if you don’t agree with me about your premise being wrong you might want to think about your goals/proposals as I think some of them are in conflict with each other.

    I am posting this anonymously because I know this will be unpopular. Ideas are separate from the person expressing them anyway, so it really shouldn’t be a problem in deciding if any of these ideas have merit.

    • Chloe

      How would you measure your definition of athleticism? Can you reflect on whether those measurements are gender-biased?

  • Steve Kotvis

    As a media partner, f/go has long been committed to covering sports, and more specifically the sport of ultimate with a mission of gender equity. To this end, our analysis of galleries published by gender for the period July 2015 – July 2016 are as follows: Female (girls and women) = 25 galleries (34% of total ultimate galleries published for the period); Male (boys and men) = 23 galleries (32%); Other* (Mixed and “composite” namely daily highlights) = 25 (34%). *NOTE: Other broken down further to Mixed Division = 9 and “Composites” are typically daily highlight highlights = 16).